"When I grow up I want to be a fireman." Little Bobby Bryar's voice floated through the small circle of children, everyone's eager eyes on him. He enjoyed the attention, especially the attention of one little boy sitting on the opposite side of the circle.
The young boy was named Frank Iero, though he insisted everyone called him Frankie. However, there was one point in time where he went through a stage in which he ordered everyone to refer to him as Princess Frankie the Third. But that stage has long since passed.
Now he was sitting criss-cross-apple-sauce, staring out the window with a dazed look on his face. A bird was cleaning its wings on a tree branch, and he watched it intently.
The circle continued to the next young boy, Raymond Toro. "Well, when I was really little, like 4, I wanted to be a astronaut, but I know that they don't even get real food and plus they can't control when they float, which is almost always all the time, so I think maybe I don't want to be a astronaut anymore. I've been thinking about being a rock star and playing guitar like that Jimi Hendrix person." He paused to scratch the back of his head, squinting his eyes as though trying to remember.
"Very nice Ray. And now –"
"Yeah. But if that doesn't work out then maybe I could be the owner of a big arena where all the rock stars play, like Metallica and AC/DC. Yeah! Maybe I could get their autograph or something cool like that!"
The teacher waited for a few seconds with her breath held, and was relieved when he didn't continue talking.
"Gerard, sweetie, you're next." The small raven-haired boy did a dramatic fist pump and smiled widely as though he had won some great victory.
"Okay, okayokayokay I TOTALLY know what I wanna be when I grow up." He bit his lip and kept up his smile, looking around the circle to make sure he had everyone's undivided attention. "Bobby, drum roll please."
As Bobby slapped his hands against the carpet, the teacher rolled her eyes. "I want to be… a VAMPIRE." The room was silent except for the loud cheering coming from his younger brother, and this was apparently not the response he had hoped for.
"Aw, come on you guys! A vampire! You know, with sharp teeth and dark cloaks. I'm gonna come in your house at bedtime and suck your blood! And then I'll –"
"Okay, that's enough Gerard. Mikey, your turn." Gerard's younger brother pushed up his glasses and tapped his chin, appearing thoughtful. When he saw that all eyes were on him, he blushed a light shade of pink and looked down at the rug, not enjoying the attention at all.
"Baseball sounds fun," he mumbled. When he glanced up at the teacher, it was clear that she had not heard him.
"Mikey, please speak up." Only, the thing was, he didn't want to speak up. He didn't want to speak at all. He was angry at the teacher for making him repeat himself, and once again mumbled his response.
"One more time Mikey. Louder."
"I SAID, I WANNA BE A STINKING BASEBALL PLAYER. IS THIS BEING LOUD ENOUGH FOR YOU YET LADY?!" Everyone stared at him, wide eyed, except Gerard. He was shaking his head and making "tsk tsk" sounds at the teacher.
She sighed and once again rolled her eyes at Gerard, apologizing quietly to Mikey and gesturing towards the last little boy, Frankie.
He grinned like the Cheshire cat, bouncing up and down, almost as excited as Gerard had been. "So I kind of want to work for a candy place. But not just any candy place, I wanna work for Skittles. I wanna be the man who eats them to make sure they taste good."
Everyone ooh'ed and ahh'ed, slightly jealous that he had thought of that first. The teacher raised her eyebrows and nodded her head in agreement, her brown hair falling around her shoulders.
"A very respectable answer Frankie." She gave Gerard a stern glare, who only shrugged and began making his Superman action figure bite Mikey's face, complete with sound effects.
The teacher then stood up and clapped her hands twice. "Everyone, you can pack up your things and play until your parents pick you up. Make sure you take home your paintings and…" She trailed off and sighed again as her words were lost to the thousands coming from the twenty or so kids she had been looking after.
"Watcha doin' there, Frankie?" Frankie looked up from his project to see Bobby standing in front of him.
"Just making the HUGEST sandcastle you're ever gonna see in your entire lifetime!"
The boy sitting on the sand made room for his friend, handing him a shovel and a bucket. They patted and added onto the castle Frankie had already begun, sometimes knocking down one half of the structure when trying to fix the other.
Frankie, slyly glancing at Bobby to make sure he was occupied, filled an empty shell with sand. Thinking he was being sneaky, he hid it behind his back and stood up, claiming to be going to the bathroom. He took a few steps backward and then ran inside.
He stopped at a sink and poured a tiny bit of water into the shell. Looking back outside through the sliding doors to check that Bobby was still at the castle, he swirled his finger around the mold to make mud. Snickering to himself and thoroughly convinced that he was an evil genius, he walked back outside, glaring hard at the shell to make sure nothing would drip.
He stopped when he was directly behind Bobby and knelt down, noticing that the blonde boy had a uniquely sweet smell. He licked his lips, trying to focus on the task at hand.
However, his jaw dropped when he looked over his shoulder to find that Bobby was munching on a packet of Skittles. Kind of perturbed that he had been holding out on him, Frankie lent in so his lips were by Bobby's left ear and whispered, "Let me taste your skittles."
The way Bobby squealed and jumped a foot into the air made Frankie forget all about his original plan. In the midst of Bobby's spasm the boy had dropped the bag of skittles, and Frankie took this as an opportunity to steal them and escape.
He took off running, back into the classroom. He was happy to see his father standing in the doorway, talking to the teacher.
"Ahh, speak of the devil." His father held out his arms, holding him tight when Frankie jumped into them.
"Daddy, we gotta hurry! Bobby's gonna catch me cause I stoled his Skittles!" He was whispering frantically, as though he had just committed a federal crime. Both his father and the teacher chuckled at his innocence.
"Maybe you wouldn't have to run from Bobby if you hadn't stolen them Frank."
"But I had to! I mean, have you seen these whoppers? They are amazing!" He held up the bag in front of his father's face, eyes wide. His dad laughed again, looking down to his right as another young boy tugged on Frankie's pants. Frankie squeaked in shock when he saw it was Bobby.
"Frankie, you can have them. I was actually gonna give them to you anyway. I won't hurt you." Frankie glared at him, not quite convinced that he was forgiven. He stuck his hand down with his pinkie out, motioning for Bobby to do the same.
"Pinkie Swear it, Bobby?" The blonde one looped his tiny finger into Frankie's and they grinned at each other, happy with the deal they had made.
The teacher and Frankie's father watched with matching smiles, in awe of the simplicities of childhood. Bobby waved to Frankie and went back to the sandcastle to continue working on it.
Frankie's father looked at his son. "Are you all set to go?" Frankie shook his head and squirmed, obviously trying to get out of his father's hold. The teacher walked away to another set of parents as Frankie scrambled to get his backpack from a shelf that was a bit too tall for him, then continued running to Bobby.
He jumped on the boy, tackling him to the ground. "Goodbye Bobby. I'll see you tomorrow." Bobby grinned as he looked up at the small boy that had knocked him down.
"Yeah. See you later." Frankie eyed him for a quick second before leaning down and pecking his lips quickly against Bobby's cheek. Before the bigger one could respond, Frankie was already running and yelling to his father that if they didn't hurry they would miss the latest episode of the Rugrats.
Bobby watched them leave, placing a happy hand on his cheek where Frankie's kiss lingered. "You can taste my skittles anytime you want, Frankie," he said softly.